To the Editors:

I am surprised to see in your April 1 issue the Art Smart "Female suicide bombings and Hinduism focus of Harman's lecture." In the article, William P. Harman, professor in the department of philosophy and religion at the University of Tennessee, tries to couple the Sri Lankan Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Homeland (LTTE) suicide bombers with Hindu folk worship of the deceased women. The latter is usually the result of local factors and is not practiced for any political reasons. And more often than not, Hindu folk worship of women stems from an affirmation rather than a rejection of life.

Their worship is more a way of remembering and ritually fulfilling their non-lived lives rather than honoring them as martyrs.

In fact, LTTE tried to minimize Hindu dimensions in their own rituals fearing that the life-affirming nature of Hindu rituals would diminish the suicidal drive in their cadre.

This is just another instance of Western misunderstanding or misrepresentation of Hinduism.


Aravindan Neelakandan

Nagerkovil, Tamil Nadu, India